1944 January 31

Eleanor Roosevelt Supports Equality for Women, but Not the ERA


Although a strong advocate for women, Eleanor Roosevelt announced on this day that she did not support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution, which would have guaranteed equality for women. From the time it was introduced, on July 21, 1923, most liberal women opposed the ERA, fearing that it would wipe out protective legislation governing the hours and wages of working women.

Everything changed in the late 1960s because of the revived feminist movement, when almost all liberal women supported the ERA. The ERA was reintroduced on June 11, 1970), and it was passed by both houses of Congress and sent to the states for ratification. After being quickly ratified by many states, it ran into a stone wall of conservative opposition (see January 18, 1977), organized primarily by activist Phyllis Schlafley (see August 15, 1924). The ERA effort came to a sudden halt and was never ratified.

Read Eleanor Roosevelt’s FBI File: http://vault.fbi.gov/Eleanor%20Roosevelt

Learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt: Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt (1992)

Learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt’s views on social and political issues: Alida M. Black (ed.), Courage in a Dangerous World: The Political Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt (1999)

Learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt as First Lady: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/eleanorroosevelt

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